With Orlando’s culinary scene exploding at an astronomical rate, the time has never been better to take advantage of Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month – now entering its ninth year. From Aug. 25 to Sept. 30, more than 75 of the city’s finest restaurants will be offering $33 three-course menus (a very reasonable discount for more than a few eateries on the roster).
Intimate, upscale, undeniably romantic, the Caribe Royale's famed Venetian Room is among those on this year's Magical Dining roster — Photo courtesy of Caribe Royale Orlando
After the peak summer season, September’s predictable lull brings with it all kinds of hotel specials, as well, some of which pair nicely with restaurants in the Magical Dining line-up. Add them together and you have the Magical Nights deal, which pairs an overnight stay with dinner for two at a smashing price point.
For example, the sleek and chic Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando will be pairing a $199/night rate with dinner for two at its Boheme restaurant – splendid for visitors or a fun, downtown “staycation” for locals. And over at the Hilton Orlando, a $174/night king room rate comes with a couple’s supper at the sumptuous Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops. Dinners, for any of the magical offerings, must be ordered from the Magical Dining Menu.
Reservations for any of the participating restaurants – the roster gets longer every year – can be made via the Visit Orlando website, but walk-ins will be happily accommodated; just be sure to ask for the Magical Dining Menu when you arrive.
This year’s roster is rife with 10Best-listed alumni, including the Venetian Room at the Caribe Royal Hotel, among Orlando’s “Most Romantic” venues; the Thornton Park area’s quirky-meets-fun Maxine’s on Shine, which appears on several of our lists; and College Park’s acclaimed K Restaurant – currently ranked the city’s best overall! From French to fondue, steak to sushi, no matter your craving, there are venues to suit.
The Alfond Inn is among the hotels participating in the Magical Nights hotel stay/dining package. Their offer includes dinner at Hamilton's Kitchen — Photo courtesy of The Alfond Inn
“We participate for a couple of reasons,” says K’s Chef and Owner Kevin Fonzo. “We really need to showcase the many talented chefs and incredible restaurants we have here in the greater Orlando area! Too often, Orlando gets overlooked on the national and statewide scene.”
Additionally, he notes, the price point is spot-on. “The idea that you can dine at as many restaurants as you like without breaking the bank is very alluring! Some people think K Restaurant is a special occasion venue and/or too expensive. Once we get them in the door to see how comfortable it is, they are hooked!”
Fonzo adds that the restaurant will be showcasing favorites along with dishes he’s featured at his visits to the James Beard House in New York.
Orlando’s premier attractions, including Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort, are getting in on the game, too. Looking to check out Diagon Alley, Universal’s new addition to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
Gourmands can take advantage of post-theme park Magical Dining at venues such as Emeril's, located at Universal CityWalk — Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort
Rates on four-night hotel accommodations can be booked now through Dec. 10, 2014, for travel through the end of the year starting at $109/night for Universal Partner Hotels, $135/night at Universal’s Cabana Bay Resort and $199/night for a Universal deluxe on-site property. The package includes a three-day park-to-park ticket, breakfast at both The Leaky Cauldron and Three Broomsticks, early park admission to the Wizarding World and a special welcome parcel. Restrictions apply, so check out the Universal site for details.
Less comprehensive deals include two-for-one tickets at Maitland’s Enzian Theater, where art-house and cult classics get regular screenings; admission to Downtown Disney’s resident Cirque du Soleil show La Nouba, starting at $49; and half off at Kissimmee’s popular Capone’s Dinner & Show.
For a complete list of packages and participating hotels, restaurants and attractions, head to VisitOrlando.com.